Courtesy Photo/The Bison
Think about home, wherever that might be. Most likely it has an air conditioner, a heater and a door with a lock. These are luxuries most people don’t think twice about.
Take a second though—imagine being homeless during this time of year.
While many think of winter as a time filled with fun and holidays, there are others who dread these cold months—for fear they may not make it through them.
According to the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, Oklahoma has an estimated 3,871 homeless people living here, and “[o] f this total, 327 were family house- holds, 313 were veterans 313 were unaccompanied young adults and 908 were individuals experiencing chronic homelessness.
How should Christians respond to this?
The Bible gives a good example in Matthew 25:34-40: “Then the King will say to those on his right, Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. Then the righteous will answer him, Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you? The King will reply, truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
When Jesus lived on the earth, he focused on serving the poor, the crippled, the blind, the sick – all those who needed Him. So, for those who claim to be a follower of Christ, the goal should be to further that mission.
Here are two easy ways to help the homeless right here in Shawnee.
Volunteering at Family Promise is one way to help the homeless in the Shawnee area.
According to their website, fam- ilypromiseshawnee.org, their mis- sion is to: “Help families in need achieve self-sufficiency through volunteer-based mentorship. We strive to alleviate the trauma of homeless- ness and assist families in securing a stable home. Our mission is accomplished by providing a caring, dignified environment of overnight hospitality in church facilities, and by providing supportive services to help families become self-sufficient.”
On their website, there is more in- formation about donations needed and volunteer opportunities.
Another great way to help homeless people in the Shawnee are is to volunteer at the Salvation Army.
According to their website, salva-tionarmyusa.org, their mission statement is: “The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.”
There are several ways to get involved with the salvation army. Donating money, clothes or time as a volunteer are all things they need.
Most importantly—whether volunteering at one of these places or not—be kind to these people. Show them the love of Christ—treat them as Jesus would have treated them. Donate winter clothes or buy a homeless person a meal.
Just don’t let this upcoming holiday season pass by without blessing someone who really needs it.